Federal Taxpayers Clinic

Location

The Tax Clinic is located on the SMU campus at the southeast corner of Hillcrest and Daniel in the lower level of Storey Hall.
 

Other Clinics

The SMU Dedman School of Law also offers assistance to low income individuals in its Civil Clinic, Criminal Clinic, Child Advocacy Clinic, Small Business Clinic, Patent & Trademark Clinic and Tax Clinic. For information on these Clinics you can call 214-768-2562.
 

About the Tax Clinic

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law has been operating a Federal Taxpayers Clinic since January 1977. The Tax Clinic offers representation to low-income taxpayers who have federal income tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In certain cases, the Tax Clinic also represents taxpayers before the United States Tax Court. The Tax Clinic is staffed by law students who are trained in tax law and supervised by Larry Jones, a full-time practicing tax attorney.
 

Becoming a Client

The Tax Clinic offers representation to taxpayers who cannot otherwise afford representation and to taxpayers in cases where the fee to be charged by a tax practitioner is expected to equal or exceed the amount of tax in controversy. In order to determine whether a taxpayer qualifies for representation, a free one-hour consultation with student attorneys is offered to prospective clients. 
Free consultations are offered to taxpayers who:
  • Owe taxes to the IRS;
  • Have been advised that they are going to be audited by the IRS;
  • Have received a letter from the IRS proposing a deficiency as the result of an audit; or
  • Have had a levy or tax lien filed against them by the IRS.
Several factors are considered when deciding to accept a client, including the individual’s financial situation, the educational value of the controversy, and the workload of the Tax Clinic. The Tax Clinic does not provide any legal advice to individuals until they are accepted as clients.
 

Guidelines for Screening Cases

The Tax Clinic is operated by law students under the supervision of a praticing attorney admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court. It is the policy of the Tax Clinic to serve persons who financially and otherwise cannot obtain suitable representation. The case of each person who applies to the Tax Clinic for assistance is considered individually.

The Tax Clinic represents taxpayers who have controversies with the IRS and who have filed a petition in the United States Tax Court or anticipate filing a petition.

While the Tax Clinic does not have any set financial guidelines, we are cautious not to represent clients who can afford legal representation. The Tax Clinic considers the following in determining whether to accept a person applying for assistance:
  1. Current and future income and expenses of the person applying.
  2. Number of members of the applicant’s family.
  3. The nature and complexity of the issues involved.
  4. Whether the Tax Clinic has the expertise and/or time to handle the case.
  5. The economic effect on the client.
  6. Whether the client has the ability to represent himself/herself or obtain suitable paid representation.
  7. Whether the client lives within a 100 mile radius of Dallas, Texas.
  8. Whether the client is committed to assisting the Tax Clinic in resolving the case.

Services Offered to Clients

The Tax Clinic and its student attorneys assist with:
  • Offers-in-Compromise
  • Installment Agreements
  • Audit Reconsideration Requests
  • Innocent Spouse relief
  • Protest letters
  • Collection Due Process hearings
  • IRS Appeals conferences
  • Settlement negotiations
  • Federal tax liens
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Representation before the U.S. Tax Court


Cost of Representation

If accepted for representation, clients are charged a $25.00 administrative fee and are responsible for any court filing fees incurred on their behalf.
 

Educational Value

Law students participating in the Tax Clinic learn that the practice of law demands tremendous dedication to both the law and the pursuit of their client’s best interests. These students are provided the opportunity to handle all aspects of controversies with the IRS, including interviewing clients, preparing cases for appeals conferences and appearing at the conferences themselves, preparing offers-in-compromise, filing petitions with the United States Tax Court, negotiating settlements with the IRS, and occasionally appearing before the Tax Court. The Tax Clinic not only gives students significant attorney/client experience but also fulfills the need of taxpayers to free and competent legal representation.
 

Contacting the Tax Clinic

Taxpayers and other individuals interested in obtaining information about the Tax Clinic’s services or in scheduling an initial consultation with student attorneys should call 214-768-8299. The Tax Clinic is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, and is located in the lower level of Storey Hall on the SMU campus at 3315 Daniel, Dallas, Texas.

Contact Information

Larry Jones
Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law, Federal Tax Clinic
Gloria Zapata 
Administrative Assistant
Criminal Justice, Innocence, Patent, 
Small Business, Tax, and Trademark Clinics
Mailing Address:
SMU Dedman School of Law
P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275-0116
Physical Address:
SMU Dedman School of Law
3315 Daniel Avenue, Suite 30
Dallas, TX 75205
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